Fight To Keep Florida's Red-Light Cameras a Glorioso Mission
State Rep. Rich Glorioso receives a Public Safety Advocacy award from Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee, who notes the legislator's support of nabbing red light runners with cameras at busy intersections.
A bill that would have repealed red-light cameras at Florida intersections met the staunch opposition of State Rep. Rich Glorioso, whose acceptance of a "public safety advocate" award June 15 came with recognition of this effort.
“It’s about saving lives and red-light cameras save lives,” Glorioso said in an interview after the most recent Awards Recognition Ceremony, held quarterly by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
“That’s why I opposed the bill (to repeal the law)," added the Republican from Plant City, who received the advocacy award along with state Senator Ronda Storms, who was not in attendance.
Florida legislators passed a law allowing red-light cameras in 2010.
A bill was introduced this year that would have outlawed those cameras. The repeal bill (HB 4087) passed the state house May 2 before stalling in a Florida Senate committee.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Richard Corcoran, a New Port Richey Republican, said he has not yet decided if he will reintroduce the repeal legislation. Opponents of the cameras believe the law is merely a gravy train for the companies who provide the cameras.
“We are going to look at all our options and decide later down the line,” said Jared Ochs, Corcoran’s legislative assistant, reportedly said May 11.
The state legislature reconvenes in January 2012.
In prepared remarks at the June 15 awards ceremony, it was noted that when the red-light camera appeal came to the floor, Glorioso "led debate eloquently and effectively against this legislation not once, but twice on the House floor." It was further noted that law enforcement officers believe the cameras will save lives and prevent "devastating injuries from red-light runners."
“In Temple Terrace, the number of tickets they issued dropped by 68 percent since the cameras have been installed, so people are aware the cameras are there and they are stopping," Glorioso said in a later interview. "We have also had no fatal accidents at the intersections in Hillsborough County where the cameras are installed and we had fatal accidents there before.”
While he concedes there is the possibility of more rear-end collissions as drivers become accustomed to the cameras, Glorioso said he believes the benefits far outweigh any short-term negatives.
“The number of those crashes decreases as drivers get used to the cameras," he said. "And let’s not forget that 50 percent of the fatalities in cases where drivers run red lights are pedestrians, so this is not just protecting the drivers.”
Hillsborough County operates red-light cameras at six intersections, including at Brandon Town Center Drive and Brandon Boulevard and Bell Shoals Road and Bloomingdale Avenue. A Brandon Patch analysis shows those two intersections accounted for 30.6 percent of the red-light citations issued by the sheriff’s office between Jan. 1 2010 and Feb.28 2011.
Of the six intersections with red-light cameras, Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and Fletcher Avenue was the worst with 9,070 citations or 26.7 percent. In total, the sheriff’s office issued 33,966 red-light citations over the same period. The tickets cost drivers $158.
Tampa, St. Petersburg and Oldsmar recently voted to install red-light cameras. Temple Terrace already has the cameras in place.
Cpt. Troy Morgan, who oversees the sheriff's office's red-light camera program, has been a staunch supporter of the effort.
“You can go the sheriff’s office Website and watch the videos of drivers running red lights and judge for yourself," he said. "I think any reasonable person would see the need for the cameras after watching these videos."